The Swedish Solution: The 2020 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD Inscription

Front 3/4 view of 2020 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD Inscription
The 2020 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD Inscription.
With small luxury SUVs officially a hot spot in the automotive marketplace, the next question is how to get as many different types of buyers to choose you as possible.  Volvo seems to have hit on the answer with their three trim levels of the XC40---Momentum (the base model), R-Design (which Volvo describes as "sporty and stylish") and Inscription, which, according to Volvo is all about "sophisticated luxury".

Rear 3/4 view of 2020 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD Inscription

Having driven the R-Design last spring, we've now sampled two of the three flavors of XC40 and it looks like Volvo's got the formula down.  These two mechanically identical vehicles give off completely different vibes.

Hood open on 2020 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD Inscription

Engine in 2020 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD Inscription

There are XC40 T4s, with 187 horsepower.  What you want, and what we drove, is the T5. 

It's a 2.0-liter turbocharged four making 248 horsepower, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. EPA fuel economy average: 22 city/30 highway, trailing its close competitor, the BMW X1 xDrive28i, by one mpg in each category.   But---the Volvo has 20 horsepower more than the Bimmer, and beats it to 60 miles per hour from a standing start by a tenth of a second (6.2 to 6.3).

It also has dynamic chassis and adjustable drive mode settings, but the BMW in Sport mode will walk away from the XC40 on a twisty road.  The XC40 is about comfort.  And it absolutely nails that.

Rear seat in 2020 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD Inscription

Front seats in 2020 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD Inscription

$35,700 is the base price for the 2020 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD  and the standard features list is a long one:

  • All-wheel drive with Instant Traction
  • Anti-lock braking
  • Hill-start assist
  • Advanced electronic stability control
  • Electric power-assisted steering
  • 12.3-inch digital driver display
  • Nine-inch Sensus Connect touchscreen 
  • Wi-fi hotspot (free trial subscription)
  • Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Volvo OnCall (four-year complimentary subscription) including mobile app with remote start
  • 250-watt high performance audio system with eight speakers
  • HDRadio
  • USB ports
  • Bluetooth
  • SiriusXM Radio (free three-month trial subscription)
  • Blind spot information system with steer assist and cross traffic alert with Autobrake
  • Collision Avoidance by City Safety
  • Run-off road protection and run-off road mitigation
  • Road sign information
  • Hill descent control
  • LED headlights with Thor's Hammer daytime running lights
  • Automatic high beams
  • Leather upholstery 
  • Leather-wrapped tilt and telescoping steering wheel
Instrument panel of 2020 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD Inscription

Gauge cluster in 2020 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD Inscription

Touchscreen in 2020 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD Inscription

Orrefors Crystal gear shift knob in 2020 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD Inscription

Our tester also had a considerable amount of extra-cost options, including the Inscription Package, which adds 18-inch Inscription alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control with CleanZone, eight-way power front seats with four-way power lumbar adjustment and driver's seat memory, auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors, blind spot information system with steer assist and crosstraffic alert with autobrake, bright integrated roof rails, driftwood inlays, dual integrated tailpipes, front and rear park assist, a hidden storage compartment under the driver's seat, HomeLink and compass integrated into the rearview mirror, Inscription design front grille, Inscription embossing on C-pillar, interior high-level illumination, keyless entry with hands-free power liftgate, a laminated panoramic moonroof with power sunshade, LED front fog lights, mechanical driver and front passenger seat extensions, metal front tread plates, metallic exterior paint, an Orrefors crystal gearshift knob, power folding headrests, power retractable rearview mirrors, a removable/folding load floor with grocery bag holders, Sensus Navigation Pro, a stainless steel cargo scuff plate and a wireless charging pad.  That's $6,750.

Also, the Advanced Package (headlight cleaning system, Pilot Assist driver assistance system with adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree surround view camera and full LED headlights with active bending lights) adds $1,400.

Heated front seats and a heated steering wheel ($750), Park Assist Pilot ($200), an upgrade to 19-inch 5-double spoke black alloy wheels ($800) and a 600-watt Harman Kardon premium audio system ($800) finish out the options list.

Front view of 2020 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD Inscription

Rear view of the 2020 Volvo XC40 T5 AWD Inscription

With $995 destination charge, the bottom line on the window sticker reads $47,395.

Yeah, that's a ways from where the price started, but a high-feature, high-quality, high luxury small SUV for under $50,000 is not bad.   The Volvo XC40 T5 AWD Inscription is a quality piece that can justify its price tag.